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CIT 174
Linux System Administration

Revised: January, 2015
Credits: 3
Instructor: Ed Nickel
Office: HTC 133
Phone: 753-2241 (office with voice mail)
E-mail: edn (at)
Class Web Page:
Textbook: There is no required textbook for this class, however, you are required to buy a Raspberry Pi instructional computer which listed for about $60 when I last revised this syllabus. You might also want to get the informative, Raspberry Pi User Guide, 3rd edition, ISBN 9781118921661, for about $16.00 but this is not required.


CATALOG DESCRIPTION: CIT 174 - Linux System Administration covers the concepts required for Linux server system administration and common networking services configuration, operation, and management. This course has no formal prerequisite, however, CIT 173 or a basic understanding of either the UNIX or Linux workstation environment is highly recommended.

For this class you must buy a Raspberry Pi computing device with a NOOB installation on an SD memory card by the end of the 3rd week of class. These computers range in price from about $35 to $100 on Amazon depending on whether you have some of the required parts to build the kit or not. (Please note, at least one student in the recent past already had a Raspberry Pi so if you do feel free to use your current device and do not buy another.) I suggest the linked, CanaKit Raspberry Pi B+ Complete Starter Kit with WiFi Adapter (Raspberry Pi B Plus + WiFi Dongle + 8GB SD Card + Case + Power Supply + HDMI Cable), from Amazon which was priced at $55 when I last revised this syllabus as it has everything you will need to make a functional Linux computer, as long as you have a USB keyboard and monitor (or TV) with an HDMI input that you can use for a short while during the initial set up of this device. After the first few hours you will no longer need either a keyboard, mouse, or monitor as you will be able to log on to your Pi from any Windows or Mac computer.

There are many Linux distributions with relatively minor differences and we will use the Ubuntu distribution, one of the more popular Linux distributions. This class assumes that students have at least a rudimentary understanding of how to use Linux or UNIX workstations as well as fair knowledge of networking and builds on those basics by adding an understanding of system administration and advanced networking concepts. We will cover basic security and server maintenance for both LAN and web services like DNS, DHCP, etc. as well as more advanced Linux server administration concepts. Time and resources will be provided in class for many hands on exercises but you may need additional time each week to do homework assignments and to practice topics covered in class. Due to the specialized and potentially destructive nature of the lab exercises required for this class, only the GBC remote access computers are available to do homework for this class.

For the class project, by the end of this class you will have built a Linux web server which will be Internet accessible. It will be complete with a SQL database and PHP web scripting to provide interactive web page capabilities. This server will be typical of those needed for eCommerce and social networking sites. Many of the concepts covered in the class discussions and hands-on exercises will be used to complete this project.

METHOD OF INSTRUCTION: This class may be taught in a live classroom setting, online via WebCampus, or as a hybrid class. You are expected to participate in weekly discussions, exercises, as well as weekly quizzes, various projects, and other class activities. The schedule of reading and assignments is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally, as handouts in class, or via the WebCampus lesson modules.

CLASS PARTICIPATION: In the on-line version of this class, you are expected to post at least one original discussion and one response to other classmates' posts every week and your posts should relate to some aspect of the material we are covering during each lesson or some related issue. In the live version you are expect to be similarly prepared for and participate in every class discussion. Whether live or online, participation in class discussion is a significant portion of your grade as it indicates how well you understand the concepts being covered.

INSTRUCTOR CONTACT: I can be reached either at my office phone number shown above or via the WebCampus email, you can drop in during my office hours, or make an appointment to see me at other times. Office hours are posted on my office door and on my web site. The schedule of reading assignments, homework and tests is found below. Additional assignments may be given verbally or as handouts in class.


The primary objective for this class is to provide students with a working knowledge of the Linux server environment, both on the web and in a LAN. To this end, essential Linux server operations will be covered from installation through configuration and maintenance. The more important topics to be covered in this class include:

  • demonstrate an understanding of Linux as a server operating system & its role in networks
  • install, configure, & manage a Linux server
  • create & maintain Linux shared resources on a network including data storage & other resources
  • understand essential management and security tasks within the Linux environment
  • install, configure, and manage common network services like DHCP, DNS, HTTP, FTP, & Web Server.


The successful student in this class will be able to:
  1. manage a Linux server for network environments;
  2. compare Linux administration from the command line shell with GUI based tools;
  3. implement some of the more commonly used network services, such as DNS, VPN, etc;
  4. implement LAN services, such as DHCP, firewalls, etc.;
  5. create and manage a web server with database & dynamic scripting capabilities;
  6. understand secure server standards within a networked computing environment.
Learner Outcome Assessments
Assessment Method Learner Outcomes
Class Discussion 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
Hands-on Exercises 1, 3, 4, 5
Class Project 5
Quizzes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6


GRADING POLICY: This is a letter grade class an A=90-100%, B=80-89%, C=70-79%, D=60-69%, F=59% or less or W=Official Withdrawal if done before the withdrawal deadline. There is no curve in this grading scale. Your grade will be based 30% on class participation and discussion, 40% on your assignments, and 30% on exam results. All assignments are due by the beginning of the next class.

EXAM & QUIZ PROCEDURES: All exams and quizzes will be objective, e.g. true/false, multiple choice, fill-in the blank, etc, and will be conducted using GBC's web based learning system.

ATTENDANCE POLICY: The instructor must agree in advance to any excused absences unless there are strong extenuating circumstances. Three (3) unexcused absences can result in a failing grade, in an on-line class an absence is one week when you do not participate in class or contact the instructor.

OTHER POLICIES: The student rights & responsibilities policy stated in the current GBC Catalog apply to this class. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will not be tolerated and can result in a failing grade. This syllabus is not a contract and is subject to reasonable changes as the class proceeds.

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES: Great Basin College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to qualified students with disabilities in accordance with state and federal laws and regulations, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. A qualified student must furnish current verification of disability. The Director of Services for Students with Disabilities will assist qualified students with disabilities in securing the appropriate and reasonable accommodations, auxiliary aids and services. For more information or further assistance, please call (775) 753-2271.

CAMPUS SECURITY: GBC is committed to the safety of our students and has a duty to promote awareness and prevention programs for violence on campus under the Jeanne Clery Act as well as the Campus SaVE (Sexual Violence Elimination Act) and VAWA (Violence Against Women Act), which are amendments to Clery. Acts of violence include, but are not limited to, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Acts of violence can occur on the physical campus or centers of GBC in addition to field placement sites, clinical practice settings, and other places where college or class activities occur. As well, the online environment at GBC is considered a GBC site. If you experience any incidence where your safety has been threatened or violated, or if you feel threatened or harassed, immediately report this to me, any center director, faculty, or staff member, or directly to the Director of Environmental Health, Safety & Security (775-753-2115) or the Vice President for Student Services (775-753-2282).


You should have read and be prepared to discuss each week's topics by the beginning of class. We will have significant hands on experiences included with many of these lessons.

Readings, topics, & activities by week:
(Please note: this schedule is subject to change based on class progress.)
Week #: Topics
major assignments
Week 1: Introductions & "Why Linux?"
Week 2: System planning & installation, an
Build your Raspberry Pi & install the Raspbian OS
Week 3: The Bash shell & text editing
Week 4: Networking with Linux
Set up a VPN
Week 5: The GUI & Desktop applications
Week 6: User management
Securing access rights
Week 7: File & print servers, even with Windows workstations
Week 8: LDAP: where Windows AD came from
Week 9: Apache web server w/MySQL & PHP
Create your LAMP web server
Week 10: More web server functionality
Week 11: Scripting
Customizing the Bash shell
Week 12: SQL management
using MySQL
Week 13: DNS, DHCP, & a little routing/firewall
the plumbing of a TCP/IP network
Week 14: Advanced server management, such as,
system monitoring, backups, cron jobs, kernel management, etc.
Week 15: Server security
Week 16: Project due

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Original content on this website created by Ed Nickel
is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0
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based on a work at
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